The highest ranked Indian paddler in men’s singles, Achanta Sharath Kamal showed the way to the Indian table tennis players, which the likes of Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra have followed with considerable success.
When President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Padma Shri award to Sharath Kamal Achanta for his tremendous contribution to table tennis, he had already won over 60 international medals over the last 16 years.
The first time Achanta Sharath Kamal commanded attention was during the Commonwealth table tennis championships in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He also participated in the 2004 Athens Olympics, and that is the year when his rise to fame began.
In 2004 itself, the Indian government awarded him with the Arjuna Award.
The first time India registered themselves on the board in table tennis at the Commonwealth Games was at Melbourne in 2006 when they won two golds.
By the time the CWG Gold Coast arrived in 2018, India were good enough to win six table tennis gold medals. Achanta Sharath Kamal has been part of this journey all throughout.
In fact, Sharath Kamal laid the foundation which has led to several young players from the country coming up the ranks. Sathiyan Gnanasekaran and Manika Batra have shot to fame as the new stars of table tennis, and Kamal does deserve credit for that.
It felt as if a decade of hardwork and putting a system in place in Indian table tennis culminated in the form of the standout performances at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
In the 2018 CWG edition, Manika Batra won the women’s singles gold while Achanta Sharath Kamal, in association with Sathiyan Gnanasekaran, Harmeet Desai, Anthony Amalraj and Sanil Shetty clinched men’s team gold.
In April 2020, in what was the final tournament before the ITTF suspended activities due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Achanta Sharath Kamal climbed seven spots to 31st in the men’s singles International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings.
Fortunately, he managed to return to India only a week before the national lockdown began. Kamal climbed seven spots to 31st in the latest rankings released by the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF).
Achanta Sharath Kamal’s brilliant outing at the Oman Open, his first title victory in a decade, helped him regain the summit among Indian table tennis players. That is also just one short of his best-ever world ranking.